DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH'S
SATURDAY 22 MARCH 2003
by Chris Simpson
For the second Saturday running race goers to the Northern
point to point circuit enjoyed an afternoon of uninterrupted sunshine.
This weeks meeting was held at Friars Haugh, Kelso. This
course is one of the most attractive and exciting on the circuit. The back
straight runs parallel with the river tweed and provides a great jumping
spectacle as the runners negotiate four fences with the river and Floors
Castle in the background.
The field then disappears for a few moments as the horses
round the hill at the far end of the course. The anticipation while
waiting for the horses to reappear adds to the excitement of the race.
Well worth a visit if you haven't already been.
As well as the sunshine the crowd enjoyed a fine afternoons
racing with some thrilling finishes.
One of the highlights of the day was seeing that grand old
stager Balisteros gain the 29th win of his career under Pauline
Robson. This was the third
time he has won this particular race.
The meeting began disappointingly for favourite backers when
Thatís the Crack unseated Alison Hamilton at the very first fence of the
Members race. The end of the
race produced the first close finish of the afternoon as Vicky Simpson
produced Kelly Canyon with a finely timed run to collar long time leader
Alsina in the shadow of the post and win by a head.
The drama didn't ends there as the third horse to finish,
Highland Island, was disqualified because rider Stuart Huggan failed to
weigh in. Highland Island had
run a race full of promise on her racecourse debut and compensation
shouldn't be long in coming.
The restricted race saw Count Keni jump his rival into
submission. The front-runner
first saw off the challenge of the well-backed Finest of Men along the
riverside fences and then has to contend with the persistent challenge of
Incroyable Mais Vrai over the final three fences.
The geldings bold jumping helped him prevail by 1 1/2 lengths.
The next race saw a protracted duel develop between the
favourite Run on Thyne and Chase the Moon, the former had 3/4 length to
spare at the line but note should be made of second who ran her best ever
race in completing the course for the first time.
Balisteros and Pauline Robson who made virtually all to
defeat Pharmistice and Dere Street by 4 lengths and 7 won the Ladies Open.
The Men's Open race saw the closest Finish of the day. A dead
heat. High Expectations under
Tristan Davison and Laganside partnered by James Muir were separated by
the width of the course as they raced towards the line and the judges
couldnít split them. A dead
heat was probably a fair result as although many good judges on the line
thought Laganside had won by a neck the bookies were happy to lay him at
even money to get the decision.
An outsider Katinka who started at 20/1 won the Confined race
in fine style. Belying her
generous odds the mare jumped fast and fluent thru' out and won cosily for
Dale Jewett. They won by 2
lengths from the favourite Don Carlos.
Better things await the winner on the evidence of this display.
Division 1 of the Maiden was won by Dun Victory who came from
another parish to collar the long time leader Celtic Sword at the last
fence and win going away by 2 lengths.
The second horse Solway Plain attracted support in the market and
ran a promising first race in points.
His turn shouldn't be far away.
The final race of the day saw another close finish.
Just Barney Boy who led some way out had to withstand a strong
challenge on the run in from Jimmy Walton on Be a Better Boy who just
failed to collar the leader. Only a neck separated them at the line.
The next meeting in the Northern Circuit is the Percy at
Alnwick. First race 1.00 p.m.
Highland Island finished 3rd but was disqualified as the rider failed to weigh in.